In last night’s episode, Rick and Michonne reminded us that they are elite zombie-killing machines, while managing to get constantly screwed over by the capriciousness of reality. Also, there was a hilariously fake CG deer. Somehow, this all pretty well sums the episode.
Last week I worried that an hour devoted just to Rick and Michonne scavenging through the countryside, killing zombies, looking for guns, and constantly boning in the camper would just be more dead weight (no pun) after last week’s Adventures of Eugene. I’m happy to say I was wrong. “Say Yes” was an unusually quiet episode of The Walking Dead, one whose conflict was almost solely devoted to some medium-stakes zombie danger (which only occasionally happens on this show anymore). But it turns out it was nice to spend time with the show’s two leads, and see what their life looks like when Negan isn’t bludgeoning their friends to death and Rick isn’t being one of his shades of insane.
So that’s almost exactly what “Say Yes” is—an hour of Rick and Michonne scavenging through the country-side, killing zombies, looking for guns, and constantly boning in the camper. Despite their desperate need to find guns to get the Heapsters/New Power Generation on board with their war against the Saviors, this is basically a vacation for them, and they’re grinning like fools. They’re so pleased with themselves it’s almost a little obnoxious. They come across a small carnival that the army had once barricaded but since then has been overrun with zombies, meaning it’s ripe with army food supplies and weapons, many of them being worn by soldiers-turned-undead. It’s the zombie apocalypse’s equivalent of hitting the jackpot.
What follows is a half-hour of Rick and Michonne being very, very badass, but also Rick’s plans failing hilariously. When he brings Michonne up on a nearby roof to survey the carnival, they fall through it—but laughing, and not into an unseen pile of zombies. When Rick tries to push a car into a gap in the fence to keep other zombies from coming into the fairground, he discovers its brakes don’t work, resulting in him and Michonne getting trapped in the car and surrounded by a small horde of the undead—but then they just pop out through the sunroof and literally skip over a nearby fence. Rick also falls off another carnival ride later while contemplating the fakest CG deer that has possibly ever been put on TV. (Don’t ask.)
There’s really only one scene that matters in “Say Yes,” and that’s because when Rick falls off that ride, Michonne rushes to him, sees a bunch of zombies eating something and believes he’s being devoured (it’s the fake CG deer). She’s so distraught that she drops her sword and freezes, a death sentence around hungry zombies. Of course Rick pops out of a box somewhere and tosses her her sword, and they slaughter a ton of zombies because that’s how they roll, and the couple ends up with 63 weapons to take to the Cult of the Big Lebowski Nihilists. But that’s not actually the scene, it’s just the prelude to it.
The scene that matters is when Rick and Michonne are driving back, while Michonne is still upset from having thought Rick had died. Rick pulls over and gives her a very awkward pep talk: They’re going to fight the Saviors, maybe lose a lot of people, maybe even lose each other. But Rick adds, “You can lose me. I can lose you. It’s about a future.” And Rick says that if he dies, Michonne will lead Alexandria and the anti-Savior forces in his place because she can and she should.
Rick is getting Michonne prepared for the possibility he may die and she may need to take charge, which of course reads as him telling the audience he may die and she may need to take charge. And now I can’t be the only one wondering if Rick Grimes is going to be killed, and Andrew Lincoln is going to leave the show.
If you’ve read these recaps before, you know I’ve speculated on this: I’m still confident that AMC will happily pay Lincoln to be on the show for the rest of time, and the only reason Lincoln would leave is because he personally wants to. After all, seven years is a long time to be on any show, and to be constantly growing beards. However, The Walking Dead only films 16 episodes a year, and Rick is like in what, eight of them? That’s not too bad a workload, allowing him time to do plenty of other projects. He’d have to be bored with making the show—certainly possible, but when you’re on a series with ratings as high as TWD’s, well, massive success usually help stave off boredom.
I think it’s far more likely that The Walking Dead just wants to make us think Rick is going to die/Lincoln is going to leave the show, because it pulls this shit all the time and I don’t know why this would be any different. Between Glenn being miraculously being fine under the dumpster and WhoDoesNeganKillGate, I see no reason to give the show the benefit of the doubt here. (I also don’t think that Michonne has any chance of dying, because Rick just talked about how okay he’d be if she did, and there’s no reason for Michonne to die if Rick isn’t going to totally freak out about it.)
But who knows? The reason I think most of us watch The Walking Dead is because it seems like almost any character could die at any time, and that tension keeps us tuning in. I mean, the only truly untouchable character right now is Negan, since he’s the main villain and we know he’s going to stay the villain for quite awhile.
Which is only one of the reasons that Rosita’s decision to try and murder Negan yet again is so deeply annoying. We know it’s going to fail, just like we knew it was going to fail the last time, when she made Eugene make her a bullet. The fact that somehow Rosita learned nothing from her total failure last time—or the fact that Olivia died and Eugene was taken in consequence of her stupid, stupid actions—makes this new storyline even more obnoxious, despite the fact this time she has a rifle with a scope and has enlisted Sasha’s help.
Comparatively, the discovery that all of Rick and Michonne’s troubles were basically for nothing was only mildly irritating. Because when they bring those 63 guns to the Heapsters, their weirdo leader Jadis informs them that she needs twice as many before they’ll fight the Saviors with them (maybe you should have settled on a number before you left grinning like a jackass, Rick). Luckily, Tara, after having a heart-to-heart with toddler Judith (don’t ask), has decided to tell Rick about the Oceanside community she discovered last year and its many, many weapons. At least Tara has admitted to herself that’s going to go badly for probably pretty much everyone.
Like Rick’s various plans, “Say Yes” was a mostly good episode, but the facts that nothing was really achieved and the obnoxious Rosita Fails to Kill Negan: The Squeakquel plotline sabotaged it, keeping it from being nearly as good as it could have been. And the whole “Rick is going to die” foreshadowing is just a giant, ridiculous, fake CG deer that the show would like us to believe is real, even though it clearly isn’t. I’m certain. Absolutely.
• Guys, that deer. I’m not going to say it was Birdemic cut-and-paste level, but that fact that my brain even went there for a comparison should tell you something. (Thanks to HoosierTransfer for the pic.)
• So, those two golfing dudes Rick and Michonne murdered. Were they Saviors, or just two guys? I’m going to assume they were Saviors they decided to pick off, because otherwise our protagonists are just murdering people whose stuff they want, which is 100% what the Governor was doing.
• While Rick and Michonne find dozens and dozens of guns, Rosita looks for them and finds one toy one because the show’s writers seem to hate her as much as the audience does. But she did fight a big bloated zombie that looked like Henrietta from Evil Dead 2, so that’s something.
• Another Evil Dead moment was when Rick burst out of that box at the carnival and tossed Michonne her sword, and it flew through the air like Ash’s chainsaw hand in Army of Darkness. I don’t know what it says about me that I thought the Heapsters’ Spike Zombie was perfectly fine but that dumb sword-toss broke my suspension of disbelief, but here we are. (And yes, I know the episode was directed by Greg Nicotero who did Army of Darkness’ special effects and is a long-time producer of TWD, thank you.)
• Judith got big. She doesn’t look much like her father, though. Or Rick. Zing!
• I did, however, love how badass Rick and Michonne were in this episode, because they were facing about 40-50 zombies, and never for an instant worried they couldn’t handle them. Them counting out how many they each had left was the pinnacle of zombie-killing nonchalance.
• Okay, confession time. I need you guys to set me straight, because I have no idea what
Tara Rosita was talking to Father Gabriel about. She’s complaining to him that he somehow talked her into something? But as I recall, Gabriel essentially said “Don’t throw your life away in a very stupid attempt to kill Negan!” and then she did it anyway. The fact that Negan let her live was 100% because of his random eye-for-an-eye policy, and absolutely not because she did anything Gabriel told her, right?